Celebrities Versus Influencers: What is Better for Your Brand?
You walk into your friend’s home and see her flaunting a brand new leather bag. You ask her, “This is gorgeous. Where did you get it from?” She replies, “Oh, I picked it up from this tiny boutique in Janpath. You should really check it out. They’ve got some great stuff!” And you think to yourself, “I’m going down there this weekend cos I want one of those bags!”
At a really basic level, that was an example of how influencer marketing works. She’s a friend, you trust her judgement, and she’s not obviously trying to make a sale, like one of those ladies who hound you to buy cosmetic products. Her recommendation is as genuine as it is earnest and you would trust her over a Kareena Kapoor or an Alia Bhatt endorsing Lavie or Caprese. Sure, they carry all the firepower of being celebrities, but are as relatable as your friend or next door neighbor?
This very difference lies at the crux of the uncertainty that marketers are faced with these days - when considering influencer marketing for the brand, who should be brought on board - celebrities or influencers?
But before we continue, let’s for the sake of clarity understand the difference between celebrities and influencers. Very often, the terms are used interchangeably, giving rise to a lot of confusion
Difference Between Celebrities and Influencers
Celebrities have built a fan following through traditional media channels like radio, television, films, and magazines. A household name, their popularity cuts across geographical barriers, and their fan following runs into millions. Think Selena Gomez, Priyanka Chopra, Kylie Jenner, and Ranvir Singh, and you know what we’re saying.
Influencers, on the other hand, have built their following using platforms like social media, blogs, and podcasts. They are essentially regular people like you and me who’ve inspired people to follow them using social media posts, blogs, and vlogs. Influencers specialize in a particular niche, such as beauty, lifestyle, travel, fitness, etc. and their following is limited to tens of thousands. Akanksha Redhu, Radhika Bose, and Anubhav Sapra are some popular influencers in India.
Having understood the difference between celebrities and influencers, let’s find out which one is better for your brand.
Celebrities tend to command a wider fan following across genders, ethnicities, financial backgrounds, and of course, interests. Influencers, on the other hand, have very niche audiences, since their fame is achieved by putting out content on particular topics.
The way to pick one over the other is to consider what you’re selling and how far and wide a reach you want. If you’ve got a product that has a mass appeal, like a cold drink, for instance, a celebrity with a wider fan base is the way to go. But if you’re selling something like a seaweed mask for dry hair, an influencer with a niche audience of young women will most likely yield better results.
How a person perceives someone is a huge determining factor in whether they’ll be willing to spend their money on buying something on the basis of their endorsement. Celebrities portray a picture perfect image, which is attractive, desirable, and most importantly, one that can be emulated.
Influencers may not be able to compete with this star power, but they have something equally (and these days, more) important to bank on - Relatability. They’re the people next door, the kind we’re likely to bump into at a party and be friends with on social media. They’re genuine and so tangible to their viewers that they may as well be their best friends.
People want to be like celebrities, but often question whether or not they actually stand behind the products endorsed by them. Influencers, however, give their viewers a sneak-peak into their lives and convince them that they genuinely do support and use the products endorsed by them.
Budget is obviously one of the biggest deciding factors that can help brands decide who they should partner with. As can be expected, celebrities charge way more than influencers who are generally preferred by brands that don’t have as deep pockets.
But the financial angle isn’t as straightforward as you would imagine. In addition to the upfront cost of paying for their services, you also have to consider the ROI for both celebrities and influencers. Surprising as it may sound, studies have found that the ROI for celebrity endorsements is lower than that of influencers. It looks like these smaller stars of their own little universes deliver better bang for your bucks!
We’ve laid out both sides of the coin for you. Both celebrities and influencers have their pros and cons and it’s up to you to pick between them. Remember, it’s not a very straightforward bifurcation. Even within influencers, there are sub-categories, but that remains a topic for another discussion. Meanwhile, consider using all kinds of influencers in the promotion of your brand so that you’re able to make the best of both worlds.